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Knowledge for Change: Trajectory of Participatory Research Methodology

On 29th May, Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Founder – President of PRIA and Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, conducted a seminar on “Knowledge for Change: Trajectory of Participatory Research Methodology” in University of Glasgow.

The session began with a welcome address by Dr. Srabani Maitra (University of Glasgow), followed by a brief presentation by Prof Sayantan Ghosal (Dean of Interdisciplinarity and Impact, University of Glasgow) on his work with a community of sex workers in India.

Dr. Tandon began his presentation with a brief description of the historical roots of action research before moving onto the newer trends of Participatory Action Research, elaborating on the methodologies of Rapid Rural Appraisal and Community Based Participatory Research which is widely seen in the present time. With its core principle of valuing the local and indigenous knowledge, participatory research is a method through which co-construction of knowledge can take place. For this co-construction to happen, Dr. Tandon stated that there was need to frame the research questions with the community and to design methods which included the people in the process. This would enable the creation of informed options and solutions to problems in the community, building new knowledge with collective process of enquiry and action.

He then described the Knowledge for Change Global Consortium that was established by the UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research & Social Responsibility in Higher Education. This consortium consists of partnerships between Civil Society Organisations and Higher Education Institutions, with an aim of mobilising new knowledge in diverse contexts. With local training hubs in over 10 countries, the programme aims at implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by placing them in the local context.

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